Sunday, 20 May 2012

What's in the box 2: Shellac manicure

One of the things I won in the box was a voucher for a Shellac manicure. I'm not a big professional manicure fan - I don't like having my hands touched very much as it sets off RSI pain. Plus I have short fat fingers and very short nail beds which don't make for an attractive look so I rarely bother (and long nails make me shudder) although I do buy a lot of nail polish because obsessive pointless spending is my hobby.

But I was curious - Shellac is supposed to last for up to 3 weeks without chipping and as any and all nailpolish chips within a day on me, I was interested to see what would happen. Plus, it was free.

Anyhow, I emailed the Shellac PR requesting an appointment near where I live (there's a salon that does Shellac just round the corner). Back she came with an appointment at a salon in Chesser. Translated into London terms, that's like asking for an appointment in Chelsea and being given one in Eltham Forest. In fact I was mildly surprised to find there even was a salon in Chesser. When I had the misfortune of living in Livingston, we used to drive through Chesser to the bypass and its retail facilities seemed limited to boarded up betting shops and off-licences and it looked like it would supply limited business for what is an expensive discretionary service that you can't get off your head on. Plus it's about an hour away by bus. But it was free. And I was quite impressed by the fact that the salon managed its appointments by email.

The day of the appointment, I checked the address on Google streetview and was slightly worried to find that it showed a block of social housing next to some waste ground. Further googling of the address showed it listed as a chip shop.

But it was a salon and the experience was pretty impressive (although bad on the RSI). The nail technician (and salon owner) was Ukrainian and I think could quite easily have run a large company or maybe even a mid sized country. She was a lot cleverer, driven and more personable than most people I meet through business networking for a start and it really was a pleasure to spend an hour with her. Apparently people drive from all over Edinburgh to Chesser for her skills and company, to the point where if I wanted another go, there's a waiting list.

The colour I chose was difficult to photograph - it was a holographic pink layered over steel grey which came out a muted purple, a bit like Chanel Paradoxal (Moonlight & Roses over Asphalt I think). It looks like a regular manicure too rather than the horny fungal hoofed look acrylics give. The photo above is at 13 days after application. Not a chip to be seen  I had it removed shortly afterwards as I don't like long nails but it could easily have lasted a while longer. I was actually very impressed and would have it done again if I ever needed my nails to look 'done' for longer than a day. The only occasion I can think of where a lasting manicure is needed, mind you, is a US business trip where for some reason I cannot fathom, the more tarted up you are the more 'professional' you look. For most other occasions where chipped nailpolish would be a faux pas, short nails and no polish at all would seem to do the trick, I would have thought.

The only downside is that in common with acrylics, you need to soak in acetone to remove it. I don't know whether it was the removing or the actual Shellac but my nails were in hideous shape afterwards, weak, bendy and peeling and two months later are still pretty awful. But I suppose if you got the Shellac redone immediately that wouldn't matter.


  1. What is Shellac? It sounds vaguely pre-war.

  2. That would be Shellack which inspired the name for this product due to its shiny hardwearing nature. There are however no squished bugs in the nail product, rather disappointingly.